ALDIE, Va. — Perhaps the most striking characteristic of Aldie’s Lightridge High School — the newest public high school in Loudoun County — is its sheer size. According to Principal Ryan Hitchman, the school’s two-story floor plan comprises 310,000 square feet and is one of Loudoun County Public Schools’ largest learning facilities, stretching roughly three football field lengths from end to end.
Lightridge’s state-of-the-art campus offers students a haven for high-quality learning, creativity, and community.
In addition to STEM-focused coursework, students have a number of opportunities to take on creative and skill-building challenges as part of their coursework, including in the culinary arts classroom, which mimics the layout and function of a professional kitchen. “Everything in here is commercial-grade. It’s the same thing you would find in a restaurant,” Hitchman said.
The school’s language arts program also offers a variety of courses one might not find in the standard high school, including Latin, German, Chinese, and American Sign Language.
Among the larger-scale amenities in the building are an expansive arts wing with a 999-seat auditorium, a black-box theatre, and practice rooms for band, chorus and strings ensemble.
On the opposite end of the school is the athletic wing, complete with an abundance of indoor gym space while several outdoor fields — including practice turf — lie outside.
A dedicated wellness room is flooded with space and natural light for yoga, meditation, and more. Students can spend their free periods studying in the upstairs library or working on a project in the downstairs “creator space,” which includes six 3-D printers, a T-shirt press, a laser engraver, and other high-tech creative tools. Hitchman said this room in particular was implemented to help familiarize students with the kinds of tools they could expect to encounter in the workplace, particularly if pursuing a creative or technical field.
Most unique among Lightridge’s interior features, however, is the upstairs coffee shop — dubbed “The Lightning Lounge” after the school mascot — where kids and teachers can enjoy a between-class pick-me-up or listen to fellow students perform music or poetry.